This app is a must-have for any fan or student of jazz music.
The app opens to a menu featuring a picture of Dr. Taylor, along with high-quality recorded clips of some of his hundreds of compositions. Each clip comes with a “Buy” button, so it’s easy to purchase the whole song from iTunes with just a tap.
The Fan Wall is a fun section, where it’s easy to see what comments others have made about the app, and to add your own for Dr. Taylor to view. The News section is updated with the latest about Dr. Taylor, including his 88th birthday celebration this summer.
It’s the “More” section where true jazz fans – and eager students – will be thrilled with this app. Here Dr. Taylor has archived tons of photos, videos, a discography, and a biography, along with a place for you to provide feedback directly to him.
The video collection, which is streamed via YouTube, is fantastic, and probably my favorite part of the app. There is a great mix of live performances, interviews, and educational clinics that are a great resource for jazz students. The clinics include lessons on everything from rhythm and time signatures to jazz styles and chord progressions.
The live performances are of fantastic quality, whether it’s the Billy Taylor Trio playing Mambo Inn with special guest Candido, or Dr. Taylor and fellow pianist Monty Alexander performing Clifford Brown’s Joy Spring as a duet.
The discography is beautifully arranged, supplying the album cover, title, and year. Select one to read the album credits, and just tap “Buy Album” to download it from iTunes.
In Dr.Taylor’s nearly sixty-year career he has performed with jazz legends such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis, and he has composed over 350 songs. He holds a Masters and Doctorate in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and has served as a Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale University. Dr. Taylor has been appointed to the National Council of the Arts and is also the Artistic Advisor for Jazz at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
As a free app, there’s no reason why every jazz aficionado shouldn’t include Dr. Billy Taylor’s Jazz Piano to their collection.
Jazz Piano requires iPhone OS 2.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch.